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When I do a search, many of the papers are only available to subscribers of a particular service, listed as for sale, or behind some other kind of pay wall. However, if a document is available, there's often a link next to the paper title to view the PDF, HTML, or some other format that isn't behind a pay wall.

Is there a way to only show these documents?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Unfortunately there isn't an option to restrict results like that in Google Scholar (I appreciate the idea, running into paywalls is very frustrating). I guess the argument could be made that you are limiting the articles/knowledge you could be exposed to be only looking at the free things. That and Google's recognition of what is accessible isn't 100%.

That said, some other ideas:

  • All Versions - Hit the "All X versions" link, occasionally an alternate site will have a viewable version - or at least show more of the article than the first linked site does.

  • Use the site: parameter - If you do find a some sites that are more generous about freely hosting full articles, just search them for your subject matter with site:domain.com

  • Library Links - A newer feature in Google Scholar is Library Links. It hooks into libraries you might have access to so you can access articles via them directly from Google. You just need to set what libraries you are a member of in Scholar Preferences. Obviously this works best if you are a uni student/staff member, but it looks like they are incorporating public libraries as well.

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